Sunday, June 28, 2009

Perez to Azerbaijan

Peres leaves for Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan

Dialogue is the hallmark of civil societies, where they resolve the conflicts by sitting down with each other, face to face and lay things out on the table.

The Muslim Neocons (Necons are insecure extremists of all faith labels) in Azerbaijan seem to match with the Christian and Jewish Neocons who do not want to talk with their adversaries. Who do you make peace with if not the adversary? To be a peacemaker is to mitigate conflicts and nurture goodwill.

I hope the majority of Azeri's see sense in building goodwill with other nations, and I sincerly hope the majority of Israelis ask their leaders to bring peace. It pays to resolve the issues and move on to live in peace and security. Let Hamas be a partner in the dialogue and start the process.

Mike Ghouse
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President Shimon Peres on Sunday embarked on what his office terms "historic visits" to the Muslim states of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

President Shimon Peres.
Photo: Ariel Jerozolimski

SLIDESHOW: Israel & Region World The visit to Azerbaijan is the first official visit by a high-ranking Israeli dignitary.

Although Beit Hanassi put an embargo on publicizing the visits prior to his departure, reports that the visits were to take place began appearing in the media of both Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan as well as media outlets in other countries more than a month ago.

Not everyone in Azerbaijan is happy about Peres's arrival. According to various Internet reports, some of the elders of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Party of Azerbaijan have protested the visit.

Chabad house in Kazakhstan 'navigating a spiritual desert'
"We are against the visit of the leader of the criminal Zionist regime and we express our protest against the invitation, sent to him. We demand categorically that the Azeri leadership cancel this visit," says a statement, released by the Nardaran believers.

"The Israeli president's visit to Baku will damage Azerbaijan's international image as a Muslim state and will be an insult to the Islamic world," the statement continues. "Building ties with the Zionist regime, hostile to the Muslims, could damage Azerbaijan as part of the Islamic world. We urge the government to prevent the visit as a sign of respect for the Islamic religion."

Foreign Ministry officials in Baku attribute the statement to meddling by Iran.

According to the Pakistan Daily, Peres will be in Azerbaijan "to consolidate energy and military ties with Baku which began in 1992."

The visits by Peres are intended to upgrade Israel's relations with both countries, each of which prides itself on having treated its Jews well and as having served as a haven for other Jews during World War II.

Peres is scheduled to travel with a large entourage, including Industry, Trade, and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer; National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau; Science, Culture, and Sport Minister Daniel Herschkowitz and Defense Ministry Director-General Pinchas Buhris, along with several CEOs of Israel's defense industries and 60 heads of major companies.

In Kazakhstan, Peres is slated to be the guest of honor at the Third Congress of leaders of World and Traditional Religions, where he is to deliver the keynote address.

He is also scheduled to hold meetings with President Nursultan Nazarbayev, whom he has met on previous occasions and whose singing voice, leadership and hearty personality he has publicly praised at various Kazakhstan functions in Israel. He is also expected to meet with other prominent Kazakhstan officials.

The businesspeople accompanying Peres plan to participate in a bilateral business forum in Astana. As part of the forum, cooperation agreements on peaceful space exploration and in areas of foreign policy, as well as on a Kazakhstan-Israel business forum, are expected to be signed.

Azerbaijan's priority fields for cooperation with Israel are agriculture, management of water resources, medical training and hi-tech. As in Kazakhstan, agreements are expected to be signed between the three ministers and their Azeri counterparts.

The visits to the two Muslim countries are a collaborative effort between Beit Hanassi, the Foreign Ministry, the Israel Export Institute, and the Israel Manufacturers Association.

In addition to the meetings with Azeri and Kazakh officials, Peres is expected to meet with members of the Jewish communities in both countries. In Kazakhstan - where Jews have lived for centuries - he is scheduled to attend the inauguration of a new synagogue.

He will also use the visits as a platform to make Israel's policies and aspirations for peace better known to that part of the world.

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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.